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2 Bills related to Section 377A repeal to be tabled at Oct 20 Parliament sitting

SINGAPORE — Two bills related to the repeal of Section 377A of the Penal Code will be tabled in Parliament on Thursday (Oct 19), less than two months after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that Singapore will strike down the law that criminalises sex between men.

The Home Affairs Ministry will table a Bill to remove Section 377A from the Penal Code and the Ministry for Social and Family Development will seek to amend the Constitution.

The Home Affairs Ministry will table a Bill to remove Section 377A from the Penal Code and the Ministry for Social and Family Development will seek to amend the Constitution.

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  • A Bill to repeal a law that criminalises sex between men will be tabled in Parliament on Thursday
  • Another Bill related to the repeal seeks to amend the Constitution
  • Members of Parliament have also filed questions related to a recent power outage at Woodlands Checkpoint and property cooling measures
  • Two other Bills will be tabled, related to the Goods and Services Tax and revitalising heartland shops

SINGAPORE — Two Bills related to the repeal of Section 377A of the Penal Code will be tabled in Parliament on Thursday (Oct 20), less than two months after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that Singapore will strike down the law that criminalises sex between men.

The Home Affairs Ministry will table a Bill to remove the section from the Penal Code. Based on the parliamentary order paper released on Wednesday, the Ministry for Social and Family Development will also seek to amend the Constitution.

No details on the two Bills were given in the order paper. But in Mr Lee’s National Day Rally speech last month, he said that the Constitution will be amended to protect the definition of marriage — as being between a man and a woman — from being challenged in the courts.

Government ministers later said in media interviews that the Government will do so without entrenching or “hard coding" the definition directly into the Constitution, a move that some religious groups had earlier called for.

The Bills are expected to be debated in Parliament at a later sitting and voted on by Members of Parliament (MPs) before they can be introduced into law. 

Separately, ahead of Thursday’s sitting, several MPs have filed questions related to the four-hour power outage at the Woodlands Checkpoint last Sunday that halted traffic on the Johor-Singapore Causeway and led to some drivers being redirected to the Second Link.

MPs Joan Pereira (Tanjong Pagar Group Representative Constituency (GRC)), Tan Wu Meng (Jurong GRC) and Gerald Giam (Aljunied GRC) asked what caused the power outage and what is being done to prevent it from happening again.

Questions related to the recent property cooling measures have also been filed, with Mr Alex Yam (Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC) asking for estimates of the number of Singaporeans who will be affected and what assistance may be given to those caught out by circumstances.

Several other MPs have also asked about the impact of the rising interest rate environment on home loans and corporate bad debts.

Two Workers’ Party MPs — Mr Giam and Ms He Ting Ru (Sengkang GRC) — asked about security measures at preschools, including steps to prevent intrusions.

Although the MPs did not make reference to it in their queries, 36 people — including 22 children — were killed in Thailand at a preschool earlier this month at the hands of a former policeman in a tragedy that left families devastated and a nation in mourning.

OTHER BILLS

Two other Bills are also expected to be introduced into Parliament on Thursday. 

One of them is an amendment to the law that governs the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which will be raised from 7 to 9 per cent in two stages, starting from January next year.

The other is a change to the Housing and Development Act related to the revitalising of heartland shops to help them stay relevant and competitive — a topic on which the Government had sought views from the public earlier this year.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, National Development Minister Desmond Lee said that this Bill will seek to allow an existing government scheme that co-funds upgrading of common areas to move ahead with upgrading works with the consensus of at least three quarters of shop owners, instead of all of them currently.

He added that the businesses have asked for the level of co-payment by shop owners to be reduced and that the ministry is studying this suggestion.

At the end of the sitting, Ms Poh Li San (Sembawang GRC) will raise a motion titled “preparing Singapore for dementia”.

Click here for the latest news and reports on Section 377A.

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